This is Ales Hemsky, who I think was the MVP for the Edmonton Oilers this season. Other candidates: Mathieu Garon and Shawn Horcoff.
Bill James Baseball Abstracts were fun because he always seemed to wait awhile after a season and then find a theme in which to frame each year.
This season is easy to frame for the Edmonton Oilers. Vincent Furnier wrote a song about it (Department of Youth) and injuries gave the kids massive at-bats and by the stretch run they’d learned to lay off the splitter and identify dead-red enough to drastically improve the team batting average.
Let’s start with the forwards and their performance at even strength. Here are the Desjardins numbers for “points-per-60″ at 5×5 from his exceptional site:
- Horcoff 2.59
- Nilsson 2.37
- Hemsky 2.36
- Cogliano 2.28
- Brodziak 2.09
- Glencross 1.97
- Gagner 1.96
- Pisani 1.55
- Reasoner 1.46
- Penner 1.34
- Stortini 1.24
- Stoll .76
I’ve included the C-Bus numbers for Glencross because I can’t find where he splits them out and it makes for an even dozen. Now, aside from Stoll’s nasty season, we see that Dustin Penner was no screaming hell in this category and that Kyle Brodziak is a dandy based on his first full season. Gagner’s number was 1.80 at the end of November so he was pretty consistent in this are all season long (although the results going the other way changed some). Cogliano had a very nice rookie season, as we look closer and from different angles it was just so good. Horcoff had a fine year until the injury, Hemsky was Hemsky and Robert Nilsson got results consistently after coming back from that minor league stint.
However, how difficult were the minutes played, by player? If Hemsky managed that number against softer competition than Nilsson, then he’d hardly be more valuable. Correct? And, as dreadful as Stoll’s season was, perhaps he was doing some heavy lifting? Now let’s post these players in terms of “difficulty” of opposition, from toughest to easiest:
The players who ranked top 5 in both categories: Hemsky, Horcoff. The black-white award goes to Stoll who played against the toughest competition and didn’t get much done offensively. Gagner ranks 7th in both categories, no idea what that means.
Finally, what about quality of linemates? If Stoll was playing with partners 9-12 then maybe we’d need to have a closer look at the poor results? Here they are, from best linemates to worst:
So this puts things in perspective. For instance, Brodziak got solid EV results while playing against soft opposition and mid-quality teammates. Hemsky drove some nice results playing tough opposition and having some good players to his left. Penner got subpar results playing with good linemates against what was usually the other club’s second line.
Based on all that info, here’s how I would list their seasons in terms of EV quality:
- Hemsky- Great EV results, 1line, heavy lifting.
- Horcoff- Great EV results, 2line, average opposition.
- Nilsson- Great EV results, 2line, softer opposition.
- Brodziak- Great EV results, 3line, softer opposition.
- Cogliano- Great EV results, 2line, soft parade.
- Reasoner- Average EV results, 4line, heavy lifting.
- Glencross- Solid EV results, 4line, soft parade.
- Pisani- Average EV results, 3line, average opposition.
- Gagner- Solid EV results, 1line, softer opposition.
- Stortini- Average EV results, 4line, soft parade.
- Stoll- Poor EV results, 3line, heavy lifting.
- Penner- Average EV results, 1line, average opposition.
This is my ranking, I’m certain some would put Horcoff higher and wonder how he can play the second hardest group in terms of opposition (I suspect it’s pretty close and there is danger in making those kinds of calls based on Gabriel’s numbers). The players I had the hardest time slotting were Reasoner, Stortini and Gagner but we’re just talking anyway.
One more note: Looking at Stoll’s season I think maybe he was a human sacrifice to the department of youth this season. I’m certain others have thought of it and do recall reading it somewhere (IOF?) but that’s basically what we’re seeing here.
I know they won’t start next season with this 12, but if they did one could reasonably argue there’s enough voltage to make the second season.